The Puzzle of Jordan’s Strange Testimony

Earl Jordan, was a key witness at Willie Manning’ Steckler-Miller trial: he told the court that he heard Willie confessing that both he and Jessie ‘One Wing’ Lawrence had committed the murders. Jordan recanted his trial testimony a few years ago, but did not formalize his recantation. As one of Willie’s attorneys explains,
“Jordan never signed an affidavit, so Jordan’s statement has very limited usefulness.”

Jordan’s trial statements, however, were awash with anomalies and falsehoods; this fact supports his recantation. His preposterous trial testimony and his informal recantation are reminiscent of the false testimony and subsequent recantation of Kevin Lucious in Willie’s disposed Jimmerson-Jordan case. In that case Lucious claimed that police Captain Lindley and Sheriff Bryan had provided a statement implicating Willie, and that DA Forrest Allgood pressured him to sign it.*

We have not heard from Jordan how he came to testify against Willie. But the collapse of the Jimmerson-Jordan case may provide a clue. As Willie’s attorneys explain:
“A finding by the circuit court that Manning’s conviction in the [Jimmerson-Jordan] case was procured on the basis of false testimony [is] also relevant to the claims in this case (the college students), because it show[s] a pattern of reliance on testimony procured unfairly.”

Another clue could be the combination of favors and intimidation used by Sheriff Bryan to procure testimony from a second key witness in the Steckler-Miller case, Paula Hathorn.

We hope that one day a solution will be found to the puzzle of Jordan’s strange testimony.

* State of Mississippi v. Willie Jerome Manning, Cause Number 13-086-CRH. Order of Nolle Prosequi. Circuit Court of Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. April 2015.
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